NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Timber cutter killed by falling tree limb - West Virginia, January 13, 1995.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 95-03, 1995 Feb; :1-7
An accident was described in which a 49 year old male timber cutter (and coowner) died 1 day after being struck on the head by a falling tree limb. The employer in this incident was a small logging company with five employees, two of whom were coowners. The incident occurred on the second day in business for the company. Five workers were at a 25 acre site where hardwood trees were to be harvested. The victim had felled trees for most of the day at the time of the accident. He made a standard undercut in a 100 foot tall, 22 inch diameter yellow poplar tree, and then made a backcut. The victim remained at the base of the tree trimming hingewood. As the taller poplar fell, it contacted a branch of a smaller poplar, forcing it backward until the larger tree cleared it. This limb sprang forward, completely breaking at the point of contact with the larger tree, and fell toward the victim, striking him on his head, knocking him to the ground. The force of the limb striking the helmet caused multiple trauma to his head. Recommendations include that tree fellers properly evaluate the area around timber to be felled so that potential hazards can be identified and eliminated, that employers should ensure that workers prepare adequate escape paths and move a safe distance from the base of the tree as it is falling, that employers ensure workers are assigned to separate work areas, and that a written safety program be developed and implemented.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-95-03; Accident-analysis; Logging-workers; Head-injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Head-protective-equipment
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division